Suicidal feelings can affect anyone, of any age, gender or background, at any time.
Feeling suicidal is not a character defect, and it doesn’t mean that you are crazy, or weak, or flawed. It only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now.
Samaritans tell us that the majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. That is why it is so important to seek help and to talk through your options.
With time and support, you can overcome your problems and the pain and suicidal feelings will pass.
Step 1: Promise not to do anything right now
Even though you’re in a lot of pain right now, give yourself some distance between thoughts and action. Make a promise to yourself: “I will wait 24 hours and won’t do anything drastic during that time.” Or, wait a week.
Thoughts and actions are two different things—your suicidal thoughts do not have to become a reality. There is no deadline, no one’s pushing you to act on these thoughts immediately. Wait. Wait and put some distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action.
Step 2: Avoid drugs and alcohol
Suicidal thoughts can become even stronger if you have taken drugs or alcohol. It is important to not use nonprescription drugs or alcohol when you feel hopeless or are thinking about suicide.
Step 3: Make your home safe
Remove things you could use to hurt yourself, such as pills, knives or razors.. If you are unable to do so, go to a place where you can feel safe. If you are thinking of taking an overdose, give your medicines to someone who can return them to you one day at a time as you need them.
Step 4: Don’t keep these suicidal feelings to yourself
Many of us have found that the first step to coping with suicidal thoughts and feelings is to share them with someone we trust. It may be a family member, friend, therapist, member of the clergy, family doctor, coach, or an experienced counsellor at the end of a helpline.
Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. Don’t let fear, shame, or embarrassment prevent you from seeking help. And if the first person you reach out to doesn’t seem to understand, try someone else. Just talking about how you got to this point in your life can release a lot of the pressure that’s building up and help you find a way to cope.
Step 5: Take hope – people DO get through this
Even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now manage to survive these feelings. Take hope in this. There is a very good chance that you are going to live through these feelings, no matter how much hopelessness or isolation you are currently experiencing. Just give yourself the time needed and don’t try to go it alone.
Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, there are many people who want to support you during this difficult time. Reach out to someone. Do it now. If you promised yourself 24 hours or a week in step 1 above, use that time to tell someone what’s going on with you.
Talk to someone who won’t try to argue about how you feel, judge you, or tell you to just “snap out of it.” Find someone who will simply listen and be there for you. This could be a family member or friend or one of the helplines in the section below.
There are a number of organisations who can offer crisis support if you are feeling suicidal.
Safe Havens are centres that provide a safe and supportive environment for those experiencing, or seeking to prevent, a mental health crisis. Face to face support is usually available although some Covid restrictions may still apply in some centres.
Further information and support services can be found on this website in relation to:
Everyone is different, but here are some general signs that may suggest a person is in need of help. For some people, several of these signs might apply - for others just one or two, or none.
Again, everyone is different, but here are some common situations that may lead to someone having suicidal thoughts:
We all have a role to play in suicide prevention. About 70 percent of people who commit suicide give some sort of verbal or nonverbal clue about their intention to end their life. That means you could be in a position to guide someone to get help before they commit the one action that can never be taken back.
Things you can do:
Organisations offering helplines and advice are listed in the sections above.
If the person is in need of urgent help and cannot keep safe:
If the person can keep safe for a short while but is still in need of urgent help, you could:
SHOUT crisis text line
Papyrus Hopelink Helpline for children and young people under 35
SOS Silence of Suicide for adults and children over 12
Stay Alive app
Kooth online counselling (ages 11 - 25)
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (not NE Hampshire)
Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (NE Hampshire)